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Fairmont VFW baseball wins opener, 8-5

FLIP TO FIRST — Fairmont VFW Post 1222 second baseman Landen Meyerdirk (left) tosses the baseball to first baseman Mathew Cone (9) for an out during season-opening action against New Ulm Silver on Wednesday night at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

FAIRMONT — When it comes to Fairmont Cardinals head varsity baseball coach Don Waletich, there’s no better birthday gift than spending a summer evening at the ballpark.

Cameron Schmidtke went 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored, while starting pitcher Jacob Crissinger hurled four solid innings to engineer the Fairmont VFW Post 1222 baseball team’s 8-5 victory over New Ulm Silver during both lineups’ season-opener Wednesday night at Herb Wolf Field.

“There’s nothing quite like getting outside and playing baseball with a good group of kids,” said a smiling Waletich.

Fairmont, like the other seven VFW baseball programs in its 2nd District league, will play a coronavirus-condensed schedule this month. Post 1222 has games slated through the end of July against district opponents Maple River, St. James, Mankato West, New Ulm Gold, Sleepy Eye and Mankato East, respectively. A season-ending tournament also is tentatively on the schedule.

“We’ll just have to see how the rest of the schedule plays out, and hope for the best,” added Waletich.

Fairmont demonstrated its consistency offensively by plating solo runs in the first, second, third and fourth innings before generating two more in both the fifth and sixth frames. Post 1222 combined five hits with nine walks and one hit batter to outdistance New Ulm on the scoreboard.

After Crissinger worked out of a second-and-third situation with only one out in the top of the first inning, Brendan Schmidtke walked to set the table for Fairmont in the home half. Ironically, Cameron Schmidtke served as the courtesy runner for Brendan Schmidtke, Post 1222’s catcher, and later scored the home team’s run on Carsen Musser’s towering RBI double to center field.

Aden Welcome then doubled Fairmont’s lead by walking, stealing second base and crossing the plate when Brendan Schmidtke’s grounder to third was thrown away in the second frame.

Jack Kosbab then extended Post 1222’s margin to 3-0 in the third. Kosbab singled down the third base line, reached third on back-to-back walks to Mathew Cone and Levi Pooley, and scored on Cameron Schmidtke’s RBI single up the middle.

Jack Albrecht, who went 3-for-3, smacked a pivotal two-run double during the top of the fourth to whittle New Ulm’s deficit to 3-2. Kyle Seidl, who had collected the second of his three hits on the game, and Ben Hohensee — who had walked — scored on Albrecht’s extra-base hit.

Cone, who was later courtesy running for Brendan Schmidtke, scored on a wild pitch in the Fairmont fourth for a 4-2 lead. Schmidtke singled to lead off the at-bat.

Crissinger and Hayden Clabaugh then drove in one run apiece to stake Fairmont to a 6-2 edge on the scoreboard in the home half of the fifth. Pooley was hit by a pitch and Cameron Schmidtke singled to put runners at the corners.

Pooley eventually crossed the plate on Crissinger’s RBI groundout, while Cameron Schmidtke, who had singled, scored on Clabaugh’s sacrifice fly to widen the home team’s lead to four.

Taylor Hansen’s pinch-hit double and Drew Domeier’s pinch-hit single eventually led to two more New Ulm runs in the sixth to inch with 6-4.

Fairmont then manufactured two insurance runs behind two walks, Welcome’s perfect sacrifice bunt, Pooley’s RBI groundout and a wild pitch.

Seidl singled and later scored on Hansen’s second double of the game to narrow New Ulm’s final gap to 8-5.

Crissinger allowed two runs — both earned — on six hits, struck out two and walked three in four innings of work to earn the victory for Fairmont. Musser struck out two and gave up one earned run on two hits in closing out the seventh to net the save for Post 1222.

New Ulm starting pitcher Anton Frederich gave up two runs — one earned — on just one hit, and walked three in two innings to absorb the loss.

Fairmont (1-0) travels to Minnesota Lake on Tuesday, July 7, for a 6 p.m. game against Maple River.

Fairmont then plays host to St. James in a 10 a.m. doubleheader Saturday, July 11, at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.

NU 000 202 1 — 5 11 1

FM 111 122 x — 8 5 0

Anton Frederich (LP), Carter Haala (3), Blake Soukup (4), Taylor Hansen (5), Grant Bruns (6) and Jack Albrecht. Jacob Crissinger (WP), Brendan Schmidtke (5), Carsen Musser (7, Sv) and Brendan Schmidtke, Levi Pooley (4).

LOB–Fairmont 8, New Ulm Silver 10. 2B–Musser (F), Albrecht (NU), Taylor Hansen (NU) 2. SF–Hayden Clabaugh (F). SAC–Aden Welcome (F).

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